Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions

CSEC is the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions at the University of Edinburgh. We are a collaborative research institution that brings together researchers from the Schools of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences and Physics & Astronomy, with interests in experiments at high pressures, under magnetic fields and over a wide range of temperatures; in extreme conditions technologies; and in computational materials science.

The mission of CSEC is to carry out adventurous and far-reaching research through enhanced facilities for sample preparation and characterisation, exploitation of multi-disciplinary expertise in extreme conditions science, and effective use of central facilities for neutron and synchrotron x-ray scattering. We are a vibrant, successful and interactive research centre that generates and exploits new ideas and discoveries in the field of extreme conditions science, and we are internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading extreme conditions science centres.


CSEC has a diverse research programme that encompasses major themes of contemporary extreme conditions science. Surprising new structures and properties of Fundamental Systems such as elements and simple molecules continue to be discovered, this is related to Extreme Geosciences studies of Earth and other planetary interiors. Molecular and Biological Sciences describes high pressure investigations of increasingly complex systems, from pharmaceuticals to proteins to bacteria and the possibilities of life on other planets. Synthesis and property measurements at extreme conditions support our Materials Discovery activities, and all of CSEC's research is enabled by the development of State of the Art Techniques.

Equipment and Facilities

Shared equipment, such as high pressure diffraction and spectroscopy facilities and low temperature property measurement platforms, is located in the central Erskine Williamson building. Other specialised equipment is housed in the five participating Schools on the King’s Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh. CSEC infrastructure for neutron and synchrotron scattering experiments is at the Harwell Oxford National Science and Innovation Campus.

CSEC logo
The Erskine Williamson Building of CSEC
The Erskine Williamson Building of CSEC
Research at CSEC
Research at CSEC

Research Website: 

Academic Staff: 

Postgraduate Researchers: 

Research Institutes: 

  • Materials and Processes

Research Themes: 

  • Materials Design, Processing and Characterisation